Wildlife

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanag in SRI LANKA

Posted by Chamara Samitha Nanayakkara on April 24, 2012

 
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File:Pinnawala 02.jpgPinnawala Elephant Orphanage is an orphanagenursery and captive breeding ground for wild Asian elephants located atPinnawala village, 13 km (8.1 mi) northwest of Kegalle town in Sabaragamuwa Province of Sri Lanka. Pinnawalla is notable for having the largest herd of captive elephants in the world. In 2011, there were 88 elephants, including 37 males and 51 females from 3 generations, living in Pinnawala.

The orphanage was originally founded in order to afford care and protection to many of the orphaned unweaned wild elephants found wandering in and near the forests of Sri Lanka. It was established in 1975 by the Sri Lanka Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC).

The Millennium Elephant Foundation is a separate registered private charity organization which is a retirement home for 7 elephants and a tourist attraction.

Wildlife

baiju krishnan

Posted by baiju krishnan on February 22, 2012

 
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APPLICATION OF GENETIC TECHNIQUES IN WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT

                                  The use of molecular genetic techniques in conservation biology and wildlife management has become increasingly important during the last decade.  This is mainly catalyzed by the development of the Polymerase chain Reaction (PCR) which requires only minute amounts of DNA for genetic analysis and the possible sources of DNA can be hair, scale ,feaces, feather, urine, buccal cells, egg shells and even foot prints.  Thus it is no longer necessary to obtain blood or tissue samples to study population genetics in animals.  Analyzing ad comparing , the genetic make up of plants and animals, not only improves assessments made using traditional methods, but also yields information otherwise inaccessible.  Even though molecular techniques are too labour intensive and expensive for regular use, they have been made more widely available in recent years due to retirements in laboratory techniques, improvements in computer power and lower equipment cost.  The major challenge for the developing nations to conduct genetic research is of economical one, while for under developed nations is the non availability of technology.

 Techniques
  
      Deoxy Ribo Nucleic acid(DNA) is the principal constitute of genes, and is found in the cells of living organisms including components of blood, skin , hair, nails etc.  DNA molecules are made up of a linear sequences of compounds called nucleotides, and form a long, continuous strand inside a structure called chromosome.  The unique sequence of the nucleotide in a chromosome determines the hereditary characteristics of an individual from its species, sex and to traits such as eye colour.  Each gene occupies a particular location on the DNA strand  making it possible to compare the same gene in a number of different samples.

    Many genetic techniques involve a process in which short segments of a DNA strand are replicated to produce a sufficient quantity of material for analysis.  These segments can then be examined for differences in size between individuals or for differences in the actual nucleotide sequence of the segments.  In contrast, other techniques cut DNA into segments using enzymes and certain of these segments are radio actively tagged to create a visual pattern on x-ray film.  DNA finger printing is the most popularly known of these techniques.  The finger print of one individual can be compared with other fingerprints to determine if two or more samples originated from the same individuals or to identify close relatives such as parent and sibling.

Applications

    Molecular genetics provides powerful tools for wildlife conservation and can similarly play an important role in wildlife management.  First an understanding of genetic population structure of a particular species may aid in the identification of management units and the development of management strategies.  The practical application would be the ability to determine the geographical sources of individuals during certain time periods or in certain locations.  It is a powerful tool in all demographic surveys as well as experiments .  Habitat fragmentation is a threat to survival of wildlife populations in human dominated landscapes.  Connectivity among populations is distinct fragments may play an important role in population dynamics and resistance.  New genetic techniques are used to assess the connectivity in spatially structured and population of threatened species

 Cloning and Biodiversity conservation: 
                         Nuclear transfer technology, popularly known as cloning , where new      “ true to type” individuals are created in the laboratory from the nuclear DNA of other individuals.  Reproductive cloning or the production of offspring by nuclear transfer is often regarded as having potential for conserving endangered species of wildlife.  Factor that govern the desirability, feasibility and practicality of cloning vary among different class of vertebrates, depend upon the peculiarities of the biological systems, the type of species under threat and even the chances  of obtaining suitable funding since the research is very expensive.  Cloning is one of the several ways of increasing the number of individuals within a population.  When populations of free living species are found to be in decline, conservation biology begins to seek methods of showing or reversing the threatening process, many such threats exists including habitat loss through human activity, hunting or over fishing, effects of pollution on fertility and fecundity, predation by introduced species or indeed poor diet through loss of prey species.  In  a few cases these threats can be allevated but this may require the development of nation and international policies that support the conservation goals.  Reproductive technologies may then provide support the conservation goals.  Reproductive technlogies may the provide support usually by assisting genetic management.  An important common aim of conservation breeding programmes with or without the use of assisted reproduction, is the avoidance of inbreeding depression.
    Nuclear Transfer Technology can play  a significant role in the conservation of species, which are on the edge of extinction.  Now captive breeding techniques are adopted for saving such species . For example the population of Mauritius Kestrel declined to about nine individuals in the early 1970’s , four were reintroduced to the island of Mauritius later, and the population is now estimated as 700-800.  In such cases we can seek the help of nuclear transfer technology.  However the population of the species facing extinction is very less and they possess minimal genetic variation.  it is therefore desirable to avoid further loss of diversity.  A subsequent generation resulting from natural breeding or artificial insemination would contain some, but no all of genetic variability of its parents.  Loss would occur if any of the individuals failed to breed, which is a strong possibility with small populations.  If cloning is guaranteed to be 100% successful, a good strategy might be to clone every individual, then allow the off spring to mature and breed naturally.  The probability of losing genetic diversity would then  be reduced especially if each parent gives rise to more than two identical copies of itself.  Thus an interesting and novel theoretical principle in animal conservation emerges; where individuals are effectively induced to reproduce asexually something similar to some plants there by improving the long term fitness of the species through the retention of genetic diversity.



Concept of Environmental Genomics
           Environmental genomics bridges the gap between genetics, physiology and ecology.   It involves utilization of abroad range of modern molecular techniques such as gene arrays and single nucleotide polymorphins (SNP) screen to monitor variation in gene structure and expression.  It can pinpoint potentially novel interactions between environmental stresses and expression of specific human, animal and plant genes.  Environmental  genomics is the application of the knowledge gained on gene identification, structure and expression to environmental protection and management.  It can demonstrate deleterious effects at molecular level before organisms level effects are shown.

Importance of Environmental Genomics.:
                Genomics build upon and enhance traditional approaches to environmental toxicology determination.  It is a key objective for environmental science for improved understanding, identification and prevention of  environmental problems.  It can provide the next generation tools to help protect and manage the environment.  It would be very critical in examining biotechnology’s potential impact on the environment.

Biotechnology and Tree improvement:
                Tree improvement and forest biotechnology offer related scientific means to increase forest productivity , achieve sustained timber yields and perhaps enhance forest biodiversity and conservation of multiple values.  Tree improvement provides classical approaches to achieve better timber production.  It has achieved sustainable gain through generation of tree selection and breeding .  Tree important seeks to identify and improves several important tree attributes including growth rates, disease and pest resistance, adaptability to climatic changes, tree form and wood fiber quality, straightness and taper

Conclusion
  The practical application of bio techniques has many difficulties.  Current success rates with nuclear transfer in mammals are very low.  More over 20 to 1000 nuclear transfers would need to be performed to achieve one viable off spring.  There are so many issues like legal, moral and technical in conducting genetic researches.  Sophisticated labs doing genetic research are less in number and the coordination is also less.  But the potential of genetic techniques in wildlife conservation and management shall not be ignored.  They can help many species to keep their foot prints on this green earth.
(Author was a Research scholar in Bio Inorganic Chemistry at Dept. of Chemistry, University of kerala  and now working as Forest Range Officer, Kerala)

Wildlife

African crusader for nature and wildlife

Posted by Susan Sharma on September 26, 2011

 
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For Wangari Maathai, the preservation of the land and the planting of trees was more than about enriching the lives of people, it was about bringing back animals to deprived ecosystems. Wangari Maathai has been instrumental in bringing an ethic of concern about animals to the attention of the Kenyan parliament and people.

"To speak about Wangari Maathai in Kenya is to speak about the Green Belt Movement (GBM) and environmental conservation. She is the most known environmental conservation activist in Kenya and Africa. Her words get the attention of the who-is-who in global business, politics or funding circles.

Without her, we wouldn’t be seeing or relaxing at Uhuru Park. She was Moi regime’s nightmare – opposing all kinds of attempts to excise government land such as Karura and Ngong forests. Maathai has walked the talk, like the evangelist of the gone days."

Visit the link http://greenbeltmovement.org/index.php  to understand more about the green belt movement in Kenya.

Wildlife

MY DEAR ANIMALS

Posted by sarath lal k.p on September 18, 2011

 
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I LOVE ANIMALS VERY MUCH .BACAUSE THE ARE VERY CUTE AND BEAUTIFUL. BUT TODAY MOST OF THEM  IS DESTROYED  AND KILLED BY HUMANS.SO I WOULD LIKE TO  CARE THE ANIMALS AND SAVE MY NATURE "" EARTH IS OUR  GOD '''''@EARTH GIVE US EVERY THING & WE  DESTROYED HER EVERY THING '''' SAVE OUR ''''MATHA''''
 

Wildlife

Saving Indian Wildlife

Posted by Uday on July 16, 2011

 
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In ancient times and during the Mughal Rule wildlife in India was in plenty. The Maharajahs and Sultans indulged into shooting game indiscriminately. the decline had begun but it was not apparent. The mogul kings in New Delhi trapped a large number of Indian Cheetahs for game. Simultaneously the population had started to increase and the natural land were being occupied. One fine example of destruction of ecosystem for agrarian and habitation purpose in the extinction of Indian Rhino from most of its erstwhile range.


During the British Rule hunting continued with renewed vigor. The Maharajahs and the British big wigs continued with the massacre and the wilderness was substantially reduced. There were some conservation measures as in Kanha and Bori Sanctuary but they were not enough. The Maharajah's inadvertently saved wildlife by denoting remaining ecosystems as private reserves. These were reserved blocks where only the ruler and his British guests could shoot. Most of the our tiger reserves and sanctuaries exists as result of this.


Thanks to Jim Corbett conservation practices in this country were rejuvenated. The first tiger reserve was hence named after him. The Nawab of Jungadh played a crucial role in bringing back the Asian Lion from brink of extinction. Subsequently protected areas where created and in 1972 wildlife protection act was passed. The commissioning of Project Tiger Program initially boosted tiger conservation in India. The status of the big cat is critical in present times due to poaching for tiger bones.      


Many effective NGOs like the WPSI have contributed a lot of conservation of Indian Wildlife especially the tiger. This animal is on the brink of extinction and if proper measures are not taken it will slip into cosmic realm forever. As humans ingress into forest ecosystems man animal conflict and poaching increase. These are the major factors behind the down slide of keystone species in India.          

Wildlife

ENDEMIC BUTTERFLIES OF SRI LANKA

Posted by randima mahagamage on February 21, 2011

 
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There are 243 species of butterflies in Sri lanka.21  Species are endemic. 

                    Common Name                                       Scientific Name
                
  1.                Ceylon Birdwing                                Troides darsius
  2.                 Ceylon Forester                               Lethe dynaste
  3.                 Ceylon Palmfly                                 Elymnias singala
  4.                 Ceylon Tiger                                    Parantica taprobana
  5.                 Tree Nymph                                    Idea iosonia
  6.                 Ceylon Rose                                    Pachliopta jophon
  7.                 Blue Oakleaf                                    Kallima philarchus
  8.                 Ceylon Treebrown                            Lethe daretis
  9.                 Gladeye Bushbrown                          Nissanga patnia patnia
  10.                 Jewel Four-ring                               Ypthima singala
  11.                 Ormiston's Oakblue                           Arhopala ormistoni
  12.                 Clouded silverline                            Spindasis nubilus
  13.                 Ceylon Indigo Royal                         Tajuria arida
  14.                 Woodhouse's 4-line blue                   Nacaduba ollyetti
  15.                 Pale Ceylon 6-line blue                     Nacaduba sinhala
  16.                 Ceylon Cerulean                             Jamides soruscans
  17.                 Ceylon Hedge Blue                          Udara lanka
  18.                 Decorated Ace                               Halpe dacorata
  19.                 Rare Ace                                       Halpe(? homolea)egena....2 more....

               (See these Images : Gehan de Silva Wijerathne on facebook)    By:M.K.Randima.

Wildlife

Dr Clay wildlife veterinarian and Game warden Chobe Botswana

Posted by clay wilson on January 10, 2011

 
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I was very kindly invited to join your club by Susan Sharma. I am amazed at how much support and love i receive from the people of India.I would one day like to visit your beautiful country. i have been volunteering my services and personal funding to save and promote wildlife conservation in Chobe Botswana.Here we have over 160 000 elephants compromising over half the entire elephant population of the world. i alone provide veterinary services for the park. i have 2 Major projects which i need to implement One is to save the declining lion population that was wiped out by a canine distemper outbreak last year, The other is introduction of UAV IE Unmanned aerial vehicles for patrol and identification of poachers. These are very expensive and i need your assistance in doing this. i have  no source of income and have expended my lifes savings. please visit my website at http://chobewildliferescue.org/ to see what i am doing.
Any help would be much appreciated
Brgds
Dr Clay Wilson
Kasane

Wildlife

Discovering Nauradehi WLS

Posted by Uday on July 04, 2010

 
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Situated amidst three district of Madhya Pradesh, Nauradehi is a lesser known destination that deserves more attention. Nauradehi lies between Sagar, Damoh, Narsinghpur districts and is easily accessible from Jabalpur.

 

The wildlife sanctuary is unique in this region the floral elements differ much from Kanha and Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserves. The forests are Southern tropical dry deciduous mix type. The forests are totally mixed and I have not seen any pure belts of teak, saaj or bamboo except those in plantation.  The river systems are Bamner and  Vyarma besides a number of lakes and water bodies exists in the sanctuary.

 

The species of animals seen here are not easily seen in the tiger reserves. Otter, Indian Wolf, Blue Bull, Chinkara and Marsh crocodiles are seen often some with ease. The deer species are also represented by Sambar, Spotted Deer, Four Horned Deer and Barking Deer.

 

The tiger once inhabited the forest in abundance but of late there is no evidence of tigers and leopards. Sporadic sighting are reported but no census records are available. The WLS promises to throw new discoveries but extensive survey is required. The tourism zone is at Cheola Lake. This place is excellent for wildlife watching and birding. Birding is exciting at Nauradehi with both wetland birds as well forest birds inhabiting the same ecosystem. See my check list of birds of Nauradehi for more information on birding.   

 

Jabalpur is the best route to Noradehi. It is about 80 km from WLS connected by well maintained road network. Jabalpur is a large town more popular as approach to Kanha, Bandhavgarh and Pench National Park in Madhya Pradesh. In terms of accommodation in Jabalpur there are many hotels in all price range.  For transportation and wildlife safari a gypsy is ideal vehicle as the jungle tracts in Noradehi are rugged. 

 

Best time to visit is winters as weather is cool and comfortable. There is no hotel accommodation nearby except rest house at Mohali which has to be booked from Sagar DFO. The rest house at Cheola Lake is more of a day center as accommodation is not provided here for tourists.   


For more details on wildlife of the preserve visits wildlife resort blog on Noradehi WLS.

Wildlife

Mookambika Wildlife Sanctuary!

Posted by Natasha on June 29, 2010

 
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A visit to the Mookambika Wildlife Sanctuary.

Trekking in the Western Ghats!

The Mookambika Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Udupi district of Karnataka, Kollur and was established in 1974 covering an area of 247 sq km. The vegetation type is a mix of evergreen, semi-evergreen and moist deciduous forests covering the steep slopes typical of the Western Ghats Mountains. This forest comes under the Medicinal Plants Conservation Areas. (Local communities are actively involved in this conservation effort. MPCAs serve as the study sites for conservation biology related research and also the source of authentic and quality planting material for propagation).

Longitudes : 13o41'25.87"E to 13o58'51.85"E
Latitudes : 74o39'8.68"N to 74o56'8.84"N.
Annual rainfall : 4,593 mm
Elevation ranges : 9-1,315 m above sea level.

The sanctuary receives an annual rainfall of 4,593 mm and the elevation here ranges from 9-1,315 m above sea level. Water sources include the Chakra nadi, Kollur River, 27 perennial streams, 36 large seasonal streams, several smaller streams, two seasonal natural lakes, one spring and 20 artificial water tanks. (Source from Atree’s Website)

I hadn't heard of Mookambika WLS and didnt know what to expect. I had gone on work and was pleasantly surprised when i reached this forest. It reminded me so much of Anshi( Dandeli- Anshi Tiger Reserve). We had planned our day so we could complete 2 treks.One trek was focused on identifying the butterflies. This is being done to Educate tourist's on the different colorful species of the forest. The butterfly life was amazing and the list of butterflies seen was good. These forests can support a myriad of butterflies due to the varied plant composition and diversity. I was amazed at their numbers. This place was teaming with butterflies all hovering about. On the trek i noticed a snake up on a tree. It was a lovely ornate flying snake. We completed this trek and rested before we headed out to complete the birds trail.

A wide variety of butterflies, reptiles and birds are found here. My trek through this beautiful forest opened my eyes further on the beauty and endemism of species of flora and fauna seen in this region. I was completely amazed at the beauty of this forest. I trekked  to Arshinagundi Falls and its a wonderful place for Birding.I spotted the Mountain imperial pigeon, Black headed oriole, Pompadour green pigeon, Malabar Trogon, a lovely pair of painted bush Quail,White bellied treepie and lots more. We also noted medicinally rare trees like

Wildlife

Melagiris

Posted by Aparna V K on June 23, 2010

 
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Atroop of five people descend down the narrow trail juggling theirglances between the sky to look out for birds, the trail to look outfor scat and pug marks and everywhere else to soak in the heavenly viewof the towering hills all around. The call of the Common Hawk Cuckooalso called the Brain Fever Bird reverberates all around.


Weare the members of a Kenneth Anderson Nature Society, named after theerstwhile legendary hunter turned conversationalist Kenneth Andersonwho roamed these very forests of Melagiri. The Melagiris are a range ofhills on the Eastern Ghats, bound by the river Cauvery on the west. Thetotal reserve forest area is around 1295 sq. kms. Inspired by thestories of Anderson the first KANS members ventured into these foreststo feel the wild in first person. Over the years however the forestshave been infiltrated by the locals for cattle grazing and to obtainthe forest produce. The reserved forests are shrinking at the rapidlyencroaching agricultural lands , the fauna disappearing by theunrestrained poaching activities.


KANS decided to takeon the task of securing this habitat for the Tiger, to restore theregion back to its original state.This is being achieved through a mixof passive and active conservation activities like communityinteraction programmes (afforestation, educational programmes,alternative agricultural practices), equipping the ground forest staff(uniforms, torches), field work to control Man-Elephant conflict,removal of invasive species etc.


Last weekend sawthe the bio-diversity survey conducted at Anchetty, The objective ofthe surveys have been to take stock of the forests. To bring to publiclight the beauty and diversity of these forests and also highlight thesocio-economic issues facing conservation in this region. The inventoryof the species and inputs on the human-forest interaction issues are toadd in to help to achieve the goal of securing Sanctuary status to theMelagiris.(Note: The proposal has not yet been submitted)



Aswe reached the bed of Dodahalla river, that has been a witness to theglorious past, a time when Majestic Tigers roamed this land, a timewhen Kenneth Anderson set float his hair raising adventures, We grewexcited as we IDied the pug marks of leopards. At least one of thebigger carnivore has escaped the same fate as that of the Tigers,although that could be due to the fact that leopards are tinier thanits cousin, have an excellent camouflage, very shy but intelligentcreature that can live on smaller prey base and very adaptive. We alsospotted pug marks and scat samples of Civet, Chital, etc.,However ourjoy was shadowed by the presence of large amount of Cattle dungscattered everywhere in generous quantity. Cattles are a menace to theforests. Their rampant grazing not only means less grass cover,dwindling the wild herbivore population but also causes seasonaloutbreak of diseases to which the wild animals have no resistance. Thetigers in this region have been single-handedly wiped out largely bythe locals by poisoning the cattle kill (Tigers finish their food inseveral sittings thus becoming an easy target.) diminished prey numbersand a variety of other reasons due to the never ending interferences byman.  If the forests are to be revived their is no go but to stopcattle grazing withing the boundaries of the forests.


Wetrekked a stretch of 8km approx along the Dodhalla river that is beingfed by several small streams originating in the forests. This riverfinally joins the Cauvery, that forms western boundary of the Melagiriforests. While the forests on the other side of the Cauvery within theKarnataka state borders are Sanctuary the Melagiris are only Reservedforests. While the protection provided by the Sanctuary tag has helpedsustain the Tigers in the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary they have vanishedfrom the Melagiris.


The Tiger census that yieldedthe numbers 1411 has created a huge wave of alarm and people across thecountry have risen up in arms to protect them by raising funds throughrunning marathons and what not. While money is continuously pouringinto already protected Tiger Sanctuaries securing them and tighteningthe protection, we have sadly not hit the mark. The numbers 1411 are ofthe number of tigers that can be accommodated in the Tiger Reserves.You cannot stuff in more, in fact the recent Tiger Cub deaths we havebeen reading are by the Adult Tigers is to reduce the competition forterritory. Internal fighting have become common, the excess tigers havebegan to search for new territories and are frequently seen on thefringes of the Sanctuary boundaries inadvertently going for the cattlekill and what happens? A Ranathambore episode is inevitable. Man-Animalconflict is on rise. And here its just not Tigers, Elephants areseasonal migrants. They do not recognize the boundaries set by man.


BannerghattaNational Park (BNP), Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS), Nagarhole (RajivGandhi NP), Bandipur Tiger reserve, BRT and the Hosur forest Division (Melagiris) forms a continuous region making it a major bio-diversitybelt and Elephant corridor. With Melagiris assuming the Sanctuarystatus, the excess Tigers from The CWS, BNP and  BRT can be soaked bythis region. This indeed is an viable option since securing theMelagiris is cheaper than trying to extend the already existing tigerreserves that have swarms of villages littered on its fringes. Not onlythe Elephant Corridor is secured minimizing Elephant-Human conflict butalso sustains the life-source of Karnataka-Tamil Nadu, Cauvery.


Withthe Anchetty Survey, ends the last of the bio-diversity survey by KANS.KANS with ANCF has found both direct/indirect evidences of the rareGrizzled Giant Squirrel, Four horned Antelope and Leopards. The Floracontains almost 20 Red listed species, these were discovered during thesurvey, considering the Melagiris are almost 1200sq km (An area coveredby putting Nagarhole and Bandipur together) there could be many moresurprises waiting to be discovered. Unless this region is declaredimmediately with effect - Sanctuary, the poaching/ extraction ofnon-timber forest produce and infringement of the Forests by the localfarmers and cattle grazers will only deteriorate them further snatchingaway the last chance for the Tigers in this zone to grow back torespectable numbers, increasing the Man-Elephant conflict , depletingthe Cauvery - a death-blow to the farmers in Tamil Nadu and increasingtension between the two states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

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